Cyclone Hockey’s D2 team experiencing plenty of success heading into tournament play

Iowa State senior Eric Baldwin eyes the puck as he falls to the ice against Souther Illinois-Edwardsville.

Spencer Suckow

In case you didn’t know, Cyclone Hockey actually has two teams that have experienced success this school year.

Continuing what’s been a very nice season to date, Cyclone Hockey’s Division II team finished in second place at the Mid-American Collegiate Hockey Association Gold Division playoffs last weekend.

For several years, Cyclone Hockey had a Division I and a Division III team. However, this season the Division III team elevated to the D2 level, a move that Cyclone Hockey had been trying to make for some time.

“We thought that moving up and having a division one and division two team would be beneficial for us in the long run,” said Cyclone Hockey D2 head coach Scott Ismond. “We’re in the business that we want to offer guys the greatest opportunity that we can to play hockey.”

Throughout the season, the D2 Cyclones have taken that opportunity and ran with it, as Iowa State’s transition to D2 has been an instant success thus far. The team currently sits with a 22-7-1-0 record.

Ismond largely credits this immediate success to the team’s willingness to learn, as well as the core group of players that the team returned this season. Ismond specifically mentioned players such as senior forwards Eric Baldwin and Logan Adkins, along with junior defenseman Jeremy Szczurek. Adkins and Szczurek double as captains for the team. 

Highlighting the D2 Cyclones’ season to date is an undefeated month of November, as well as a second place finish in their league tournament.

The only team to defeat the Cyclones in the MACHA Gold Division Tournament was perennial D2 powerhouse McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois.

After splitting a series with the Bearcats the weekend prior and defeating St. Louis University 5-2 in the semi-finals, the Cyclones fell 4-0 in the MACHA Gold Division championship game.

The game was never really particularly close, as McKendree scored a goal within the first minute and scored three goals in the first period. An additional goal in the second period and a 30-save shutout performance from Bearcats goaltender Andrew Best ultimately sealed the Cyclones’ fate.

“Going in, I felt pretty good having that win and an overtime loss at [McKendree’s] rink,” Ismond said. “They jumped out and had a hot start and had a couple of good bounces. It’s hard to recover from.”

While the loss was a disappointing result, especially with the Cyclones having shown that they can beat McKendree just a week before, the team is far from down on themselves.

Not only has Iowa State made significant progress over the course of the season, but the Cyclones still have time left in the season to finish strong.

With that being said, Ismond admits that his team will have their work cut out for them. Starting with next week’s Central Region Playoffs, every game that the D2 Cyclones play from here on out will be under single-elimination format.

This means that the Cyclones’ season could be done as early as this Saturday with a loss to the Marian University. To make matters more difficult, Ismond says that every team Iowa State plays from here on out will be at roughly the same talent level of the McKendree team that just shut them out.

Ismond remains confident though that his team can make a run despite its relative lack of experience. What will ultimately determine how long that run lasts, however, will be how much the players are willing work on the little things.

“They know that when we play our best games, we can beat the best of them,” Ismond said. “I think if we play our game and pay attention to details, we have a chance to win every single game. It’s just a matter of putting in the effort to play the game as a team.”